'Hoops for Hope' Lends Hand

Undergrads organizing basketball tourney to benefit cancer research

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

When a friend of College of Arts and Sciences junior Matthew Hanlon started losing his hair to chemotherapy, Hanlon began sporting a shaved head as a show of support.

Now, Hanlon and a group of Boston College undergraduates are looking to do even more to bolster the hopes of cancer sufferers.

(L-R) "Hoops for Hope" organizers Haven Perkins, Marissa Toomey, Marisa Ventura, Joel Barciauskas and Matthew Hanlon. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
The BC students seek to raise more than $50,000 for cancer research with a "three-on-three" weekend basketball tournament in November that will involve more than 300 students from area colleges and universities.

Proceeds from the tournament, dubbed "Hoops For Hopes," will benefit the V-Foundation, a charity devoted to cancer research.

The two-day event, organized by Carroll School of Management senior Haven Perkins, will be played on the weekend of Nov. 15-16 at the Flynn Recreation Complex.

Perkins said that more than 100 men's and women's teams from 15 area colleges have signed up to compete. He expects additional teams to register in coming weeks.

"It started out last January with a group of people who wanted to do something to help cancer research," Perkins said. "There was nothing like three-on-three basketball between all of the schools in the Boston area, so this would be a unique intramural-level competition among all of the schools, something different from the athletic and academic competition that we already share."

Perkins has been joined in his efforts by juniors Hanlon, Joel Barciauskas and Marissa Toomey of A&S, Debbie Robb of CSOM and Marisa Ventura from the Lynch School of Education.

"We picked cancer research because [the disease] knows neither race, nor religion nor age," said Perkins. "It is a cause that everyone can rally for, because most have had personal experiences with cancer, whether it be a family member, a friend or themselves."

The V-Foundation "was the perfect fit for our tournament because of its ties with basketball," Perkins said. The foundation was established by former North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN sports commentator Jimmy Valvano, who died of cancer in 1993.

Perkins' group contacted student government organizations at Boston-area schools to recruit three-person teams, each of which pays a $100 entry fee to compete in the tournament.

The students also enlisted the support of a number of corporate sponsors for the event, including Boston Herald.com, ESPN.com, StudentCity.com (a student travel agency), Quick Draw!(a t-shirt maker),East Balt Commissary (a baking firm), and Red Bull energy drink.

"Contacting the corporations took a considerable amount of tenacity," said Perkins. "We weren't exactly first on their list of things to do. I have personally spent easily over 100 hours on the phone calling corporations since April."

Perkins said the group received help in the corporate outreach effort from Carroll School faculty members Associate Dean Richard Keeley, Adj. Lect. Amy LaCombe and Adj. Lect. Maria Sanella and William Lambert, who coordinates fund-raising activities for the Campus School.

Perkins, who also plays on the Boston College football team, said that members of the group have devoted four to six hours a day on the project since it began 10 months ago.

Members of the winning teams in the men's and women's divisions will receive a spring break vacation package to Cancun or Acapulco from StudentCity.com, Perkins said.

Boston College students wishing to enter a team in the tournament may pick up an application at the RecPlex or register online at www.hoops-for-hope.org.


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